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02 May 2018, 01:39 | Tara Lloyd
The U.S. president hopes that nations do not lobby against his country's joint 2026 World Cup bid with Mexico and CanadaMore
Just a month away before the huge announcement of the 2026 FIFA World Cup hosts, President Trump has warned to withdraw support on countries that do not support the joint hosting bid of the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
¨The U.S. has put together a STRONG bid w/ Canada & Mexico for the 2026 World Cup, ¨ says Trump's tweet.
The US, Canada and Mexico bid group said in a diplomatic statement: "From the beginning, we have received great support from the Canadian, Mexican and United States governments".
It is strongly against Federation Internationale de Football Association rules for governments to interfere in the host selection process, so Trump's comments could have the potential to hinder the United States' bid.
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FIFA, in turn, cited its guidelines not allowing political influence in the bidding process.
The African country Morocco is also bidding to host the 2026 event.
Trump's comments came in the context of highlighting American assistance to Nigeria and follow a veiled threat to withhold U.S. Support from countries opposing the North American effort. Why should we be supporting these countries when they don't support us (including at the United Nations)?¨.
Trump is convinced that the USA can get away with coercion and corruption, in terms of commercial and strategic benefits, that would have crushed the chances of any other bidding country.
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"As a general rule, we can not comment on specific statements in connection with the bidding process", FIFA's statement said.
The 2026 World Cup bid will be awarded this summer.
The North African country with long coastlines along the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea previously bid for the World Cup in 1994, 1998, 2006 and 2010. All 206 votes from member nations will be made public.
Trump did not specify which countries he was referring to, but it is widely expected that Morocco will have the support of virtually the entire African continent and a great bloc of Middle Eastern countries.
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The United States previously hosted the World Cup in 1994, and that 24-team, 52-match tournament still holds the all-time attendance record (with almost 3.6m spectators), despite a subsequent expansion of the format to 32 teams and 64 matches. "We didn't discuss it, because the president knows me, and he knows where I'm coming from and I appreciate that".
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